Discover the Camino del Norte and the Camino Sarria

photograph of man standing on beach in Camino del Norte and the Camino Sarria

Discover the Camino del Norte and the Camino Sarria

Embarking on the Camino de Santiago is a journey of both spiritual and physical transformation. Among the many routes to Santiago de Compostela, two stand out for their unique charm and diverse experiences: the Camino del Norte and the Camino Sarria. These routes not only offer stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage but also provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and traditions of northern Spain.

The Camino del Norte: A Coastal Adventure

The Camino del Norte, or the Northern Way, is renowned for its breathtaking coastal scenery. Starting in the vibrant city of San Sebastián, this route stretches approximately 825 kilometres along the northern coast of Spain, passing through the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia. The journey is a visual feast of rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and lush green countryside.

One of the highlights of the Camino del Norte is the city of Bilbao, home to the iconic Guggenheim Museum. This modern architectural marvel houses contemporary art exhibitions that are sure to inspire and captivate. As you continue, you will encounter the serene beaches of Santander and the picturesque fishing villages of Asturias, where you can savour fresh seafood and the famous local cider.

The route’s challenging terrain, with its frequent ascents and descents, demands a good level of fitness and determination. However, the effort is rewarded with stunning views and the satisfaction of conquering one of the most beautiful paths to Santiago.

The Camino Sarria: A Popular Pilgrim Path

For those seeking a shorter pilgrimage, the Camino Sarria, also known as the last 100 kilometres of the Camino Francés, is an excellent choice. Starting in the charming town of Sarria, this route covers a manageable distance of approximately 115 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela. The Camino Sarria is particularly popular among pilgrims who wish to earn the Compostela, the official certificate of completion, which requires walking at least 100 kilometres.

This route is ideal for first-time pilgrims and those with limited time. It offers a more leisurely pace while still providing a rich tapestry of experiences. The path winds through the picturesque countryside of Galicia, dotted with ancient churches, rustic hamlets, and lush forests. One of the key attractions is the Monastery of Samos, one of the oldest and most significant monastic sites in Spain. The tranquil atmosphere and stunning architecture make it a perfect spot for reflection and contemplation.

As you approach Santiago, the excitement builds with each step. The final stretch through the eucalyptus-scented forests and rolling hills brings you closer to the majestic Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, where the tomb of St. James awaits.

Choosing Your Path

Whether you opt for the rugged beauty of the Camino del Norte or the accessible charm of the Camino Sarria, both routes offer unique and enriching experiences. The Camino del Norte challenges you with its coastal terrain and rewards you with awe-inspiring views, while the Camino Sarria provides a shorter, yet equally fulfilling, pilgrimage through the heart of Galicia.

Both routes allow you to connect with the rich history, culture, and traditions of Spain. Whichever path you choose, the journey to Santiago de Compostela is sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul, creating memories and stories that will last a lifetime.